PopLurker Reviews: Yuri on Ice and Its (Strangely Quirky) Characters

By Lauren Simone




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If I told you there was an amazing anime out there built around the sport of competitive figure skating, would you believe me? You would if you had already heard of Yuri on Ice, a show that triple axeled its way to fame at the end of 2016. The show centers around Japan’s Yuri Katsuki, a decent elite figure skater with a self-confidence problem who’s contemplating hanging up his skates for good when his idol, Russia’s Victor Nikiforov, shows up to be his coach. It’s part sports anime, part love story, and all around amazing, especially when you throw the eccentric supporting cast into the mix. Because what’s a competitive sport without, you know, competitors?

Sure, there’s Yuri Plisetsky, the up and comer who’s ready to take Victor’s place as the best in the world, and Phichit Chulanont, the Thai skater eager to make a name for himself. But a few of the quirkier characters who take the ice over the course of the series might have you scratching your head…or even straight up creeping you out.


Kenjirou Minami


With his brightly colored hair and classic anime snaggletooth, Kenjirou Minami immediately presents himself not as a promising Japanese figure skater, but as the character most likely to stalk Yuri in a parking garage, crowbar in hand, walking slowly on the balls of his feet…so slowly…

With stars in his eyes he watches Yuri draw his performance slot number – this is the second time he’s gotten to witness this blessed moment you guys!!1!!! Too bad Yuri doesn’t know who the hell he is. Don’t worry Minami, if he doesn’t know who you are, it’s less weird if you blatantly stare at his ass during practice, which you definitely do. And if he’s still looking around in confusion after you cheer him on following his short program, that’s his problem, not yours. If he wants to be a famous figure skater, then he needs to get used to stalkers. I mean fans. Yeah, fans. That sounds less “restraining ordery”.


Seung Gil Lee


At least the only thing Seung Gil Lee of Korea is stalking is his own score. “I get no benefit from being nice to you so why bother?” he right off the bat tells other skaters who had the gall to invite him to join them for dinner. That’s before he bitches at someone to get out of his way. Yikes. I guess he doesn’t like anything that interrupts all the math going on in his head. He had pi to a hundred digits!

In contrast to his super colorful costume, Lee’s face is so expressionless he’s like a corpse on skates, despite the commentators revealing he wants to amp up the sex appeal in his program. That’s a really narrow demographic you’re trying to appeal to there, buddy, mostly likely those who’ve listened to “One Last Dance With Mary Jane” by Tom Petty one too many times.


Christophe Giacometti


On the opposite side of the sex appeal scale is Switzerland’s Christophe Giacometti, who is not only a walking double entendre, but every syllable that comes out of his mouth sounds meant for a phone sex hotline.

Modesty and personal space aren’t really strong suits either – the first time we meet him he gropes Yuri’s behind before sidling right up against his ass. “I’m good at coming from behind,” he says. Okay, so maybe that’s not a quote from that encounter, but it’s still something he says during the course of this series, along with: “You always come too early, you know that?” Maybe “Who says you need to be on the ice to do a sit spin” got left on the cutting room floor.

Back on the modesty front, Chris has no qualms about posing for half naked photos at the pool in the dead of winter, or pole dancing in his underwear in the middle of a banquet while spraying his somehow glistening body with champagne. Does he keep his body oiled at all times, just waiting for an opportunity to show off his sculpted chest, or is that a stupid question?

Oh, and he’s known to orgasm at the end of his skating routines.


Georgi Popvich


From the guy who’s giving it away to the guy who’s no longer getting any, Georgi Popvich of Russia has publicly chosen heartbreak as his theme for the season. Judging from his performances he might want to give up a few of his skating practice sessions in favor of some therapy ones, because this guy is a little…intense.

Georgi’s girlfriend not only broke up with him, but had the nerve to move on with her life and start dating someone else. So naturally, while performing his short program, he likes to imagine he’s an evil wizard who’s going to curse her to sleep for eternity, in between adding his tears to the ice. What the commentator calls an emotional performance is actually him fantasizing about “hunting her to the ends of the Earth” complete with his high-pitched imitation of her begging for mercy.

I hope his theme for next season isn’t “They’ll never find where I hid the body”.


Michele Crispino


Michele Crispino is also hung up on a woman, one he wants to be a knight in shining armor to and lovingly refers to as “my lady”. Only in the case of this Italian skater, the woman he’s infatuated with is Sara, his fellow figure skater and, oh yeah, TWIN SISTER.

This guy wants nothing to become between him and his sister, ready to throw down with any man who wants to date her while clutching her to his chest like King Kong. They’re going to be together forever, you see, on and off the ice, and there’s probably some kind of homemade besties necklace involved. But it’s not sexual! No, no, not sexual at all. But all you other guys stay away, because no one else could possibly love her like him.

Before this gets too Flowers In the Attic, Sara is not down with any of this.

How will he go on without picking out his sister’s underwear every morning? And what to do with his vast collection of binoculars? Must he show how much he loves her by finally letting her go? This is what he ponders while skating a song called “Serenade for Two”, which includes such creepy lyrics as, “I’m always watching.”

It’s probably the theme song for his binoculars club.


Jean-Jacque Leroy


If it was possible to stalk yourself, our next skater, Jean-Jacque Leroy from Canada, would find a way. He’s so full of himself Narcissus doesn’t even want his name associated with this dude. His go-to move is to use the thumb and index finger on both hands to form JS he then flashes in front of his chest, often when making a declaration about his “JJ Style”. I think that’s supposed to mean he’s an independent thinker, but I really just think it means he’s an asshole.

Maybe constantly referring to himself as the king wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t skate to a custom song titled “Theme of King JJ”. The lyrics which include phrases like, “I’m the King JJ no one defeats me”, not only put JJ at the top of the world, but they also invite everyone else to join him. Why? So he can rule them with an iron fist, forcing them to watch him skate day and night with breaks only to watch him sing his theme song shirtless, a gold medal dangling around his neck? Yeah, I’ll pass. The bottom of the world is just fine. We have voodoo dolls.

Though they may have stalker tendencies, perpetually sticky hands, or questionable internet search histories, I love all the characters from Yuri on Ice, quirks and all.

It’s part of what makes the show so great and different from so many other animes out there right now. I very much recommend you pick up a copy of the complete series on Blu-ray.

Except JJ. Fuck that guy.



You can find Lauren gliding on that rink known as Twitter. She’s also on Facebook, and you can follow her Pop-Culture Blog, Failing Together.

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